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Juneteenth is often cited as African-American Independence Day, a special day of recognition by many municipalities and states. The observances commemorate June 19, 1865, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was finally enforced in Texas, the last of the seceding states to be occupied by the federal army. At the time, an estimated 250,000 persons were still enslaved in Texas, despite the signing of the proclamation more than two years earlier.


2022 Event Descriptions

Movie screening: “Hidden Figures”

Thursday, June 16, 2022, 7:30 pm hidden figures movie

Hidden Figures tells the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Followed by Juneteenth-related trivia & prizes: prizes are gift cards to POC-owned businesses in Falmouth.

In person:
Clapp Auditorium
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Annual Lecture:Friday Evening Lecture Series: “Be the Messenger: Tell the Truth about Independence in America and its Impact on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” - B. Chad Starks

Friday, June 17, 2022, 8:00 pm 

This year our annual lecture titled “Be the Messenger: Tell the Truth about Independence in America and its Impact on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” will be presented by guest speaker B. Chad Starks, from BCS and Associates, Inc. After the lecture (approximately 45-minutes) the remaining time will be for live Q&A.

Registration for Zoom event

In person:
Clapp Auditorium
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Lecture Abstract:

This lecture is for everyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone and challenge their perception of American history, Juneteenth, and what independence has looked like for Black Americans. It is a perfect professional development opportunity for leaders and scholars to maximize personal and institutional growth; disrupt the “Isms’; have a shared understanding of justice; and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biology space and well beyond. This dynamic conversation is designed to help participants “get uncomfortable to get comfortable” as they grow personally and professionally.

Brian Chad Starks is the Founder & CEO of BCS and Associates, Inc. and a nationally recognized critical criminologist, social justice advocate, and expert on equity, inclusion, and the disruption of implicit bias. He completed his undergraduate studies at Wofford College, a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate from the University of Delaware. Starks has championed diversity and inclusion for individuals, organizations, and communities for more than 25 years. He brings this expertise to Clemson University where he is a research fellow for the Social Justice Research and Advocacy Hub. Starks has been on the faculty at Lynchburg College, Delaware State University, and Benedict College and is currently a Research Assistant Professor at Clemson University. He also served as an Associate Director with the Delaware NASA Space Grant Consortium, where he developed a “Sociology of Stem Framework” while working to change the mindset of those in higher education leadership positions to increase minority student representation. Starks has worked with organizations, non-profits, and businesses to increase racial equity and promote social justice and has provided equity and diversity training to multiple school districts. Starks has published numerous journal articles and chapters on discrimination, STEM recruitment, race and racial politics, and disparities in education. He has received multiple awards for his work, including the Louis L. Redding Diversity Award from the University of Delaware and the NAACP Civil Rights award (Lynchburg, Virginia Branch). He was inducted into the 2016 Wofford College Athletics Hall of Fame and is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Walk for Freedom:

Sunday, June 19, 2022. 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Join us in a contemplative freedom walk as part of the Juneteenth celebrations. You may walk in the Highfield Gardens or the surrounding Beebe Woods. Several different paths of variable lengths will be shown on map handouts.

Please drop in any time between 11:30 am-1:30 pm and learn more about the Juneteenth celebration.

More information

An independent walk at your own pace and desired space to acknowledge Juneteenth and its symbolism for freedom. To share your walk with us on social media, use the #DACFreedomWalk on your post.


Juneteenth holiday:

On Thursday, June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making Juneteenth (June 19) an official federal holiday. 


 Additional Juneteenth history & educational resources


Lesser known history of slavery in the North:

The Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641 was the first colony in North America to codify the system of slavery which was to be the law in Massachusetts. Without the large plantations of the south, many families only held two or three slaves. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783. Nearby Rhode Island (a colonial era producer of rum) was a keystone in the triangle slave trade between Africa, the West Indies, and the British colonies.   People not Property, Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North, is an educational website produced by Historic Hudson Valley in New York State, which explains the blunt story of what slavery is and what it means to be a slave.


The African-American Heritage Trail on Martha's Vineyard:

The African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard is a community run organization which has developed over 30 historic sites on the Island which honor the formerly forgotten contributions of citizens of African descent, who have had a major impact upon the development and history of Martha’s Vineyard. Learn more about the Heritage Trail through this Martha’s Vineyard NAACP interview with founders Elaine Cawley Weintraub and Carrie Camillo Tankard. Recently, the African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard dedicated the 32nd site on the Heritage Trail, The Nameless Trail, to the memory of the slaves who lived and worked on Martha’s Vineyard as well as those slaves who travelled through this island, which is located just 4 miles from Woods Hole. Students from the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School researched and created The Nameless Trail. The website of the African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard has further information about the trail and educational tours.


More ways to celebrate:

Visit the official "How to Celebrate" page for more ideas